2017 Language Series: November 10 and 11

Save the Date!

Mark your calendars! The 18th Annual Language Series will be November 10 & 11, 2017.

Building on students’ linguistic and cultural assets for academic success

Language Series

The 17th Annual Language Series will be held November 18th and 19th, 2016 and feature a keynote presentation by Ofelia García.

The Language Series supports educators in understanding the critical role that language plays in the social and academic success of all students. The focus of the coming Fall 2016 Language Series is on how to use the social language of our students for academic language development. By building on students’ linguistic and cultural assets, the school community both strengthens and affirms the social language that students bring to school. This creates a strong foundation for academic language development. A strong predictor of academic success is the ability of a teacher to draw upon a student’s background and social language. If done well, this serves as a bridge to developing a deeper understanding and appreciation of content knowledge and academic language.

Some of the questions we will explore:

  • How can we create classroom and school environments that celebrate students’ linguistic and cultural assets?
  • How can we honor and utilize the linguistic resources that students bring to school to negotiate and acquire academic content?
  • How can we provide multiple points of access to the curriculum through rigorous cognitive engagement?
  • How can we design curriculum that encourages students to use their home and school language(s) to make meaning?

Dr. Ofelia García will be our keynote speaker on Friday night. Saturday workshops with experienced practitioners and researchers will inspire and engage you through hands-on activities. Participants will take away concrete ideas for immediate implementation in your settings.

Come and re-energize your practice by learning from the experts in the field. They will share multiple ways to create and support social and academic language growth in today's diverse educational settings that include English as a new language (ENL) learners as well as English native speakers.


We thank the NYS Statewide Language Regional Bilingual Education Resource Center (RBERN) at New York University for sponsoring our 2016 Annual Conference with its special support of 20 teachers and student teachers to attend the conference.

Keynote Presentation

Ofelia GarciaOfelia García is Professor in the Ph.D. programs of Urban Education and of Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Languages at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She has been Professor of Bilingual Education at Columbia University´s Teachers College, Dean of the School of Education at the Brooklyn Campus of Long Island University, and Professor of Education at The City College of New York. Among her best-known books are Bilingual Education in the 21st Century: A Global Perspective; Translanguaging; Language, Bilingualism and Education (with Li Wei); Educating Emergent Bilinguals (with J. Kleifgen), Handbook of Language and Ethnic Identity (with J. Fishman), Negotiating Language Policies in Schools: Educators as Policymakers (with K. Menken), Imagining Multilingual Schools (with T. Skutnabb-Kangas and M. Torres-Guzmán), and A Reader in Bilingual Education (with C. Baker). She is the Associate General Editor of the International Journal of the Sociology of Language and the co-editor of Language Policy (with H. Kelly-Holmes).

Her new book, The Translanguaging Classroom: Leveraging Student Bilingualism for Learning with, Susana Ibarra Johnson, and Kate Seltzer is available for preorder and will be released in the fall.

For the past three and a half years, García has been co-principal investigator of CUNY-NYSIEB. García’s extensive publication record on bilingualism and the education of bilinguals is grounded in her life experience living in New York City after leaving Cuba at the age of 11, teaching language minority students bilingually, educating bilingual and ESL teachers, and working with doctoral students researching these topics.

Saturday Workshops

  • 1. Fostering Communication Using Culturally Responsive Practices and Authentic Collaborations with our Youngest Communicators

    NoneWe will look at how to build on very young children’s linguistic and cultural assets while supporting their social and cognitive development. Through large and small group discussions as well as hands on activities, we will explore the importance of early language for very young children and strategies for supporting each and every child and their family paying special attention to concepts of family and culture exploring core components and specific strategies for culturally and linguistically responsive teaching during the early years.

    Some of the questions that we will explore are:

    • How can we be emotionally responsive while supporting culture and linguistic strengths?
    • How can we provide multiple points of access to the curriculum through meaningful cognitive engagement?
    • How can we design curriculum that encourages students to use their home and school language(s) to make authentic connections?
    • How can we create classroom and school environments that celebrate students’ linguistic and cultural assets?

    Focus: Ages 0 to 4

    Presenters: Gabriel Guyton & Kristina Satchell

    NoneKristina Satchell is the Educational Coordinator at the Columbia University Early Head Start in New York City. She has spent more than 10 years working with young children and their families, many of them emergent bilinguals and children with special needs. Kristina is in charge of over two hundred high-risk infants and toddlers and their families. She supports their educational development as well as provides training for twenty child specialists.

    Kristina is also an instructor for the Universal Pre-K training on social and emotional development through the Center for Emotional Responsive Practice at Bank Street College. She previously worked at the Bank Street Family Center for three years in an inclusion classroom for infants and toddlers. She earned her Master’s in Education from Bank Street College in Infant and Family Development and Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special and General Education.

  • 2. Imagination in Language Learning: Building Preschool Curricula around Folk Stories and Role Playing

    Stories are effective frameworks for learning and developing language in context. Even the content of a simple story for preschoolers can lead to deep socio-emotional, cultural, or subject explorations. Dramatic play is the ideal complement to a story frame. Dramatic play leads to increased comprehension and oral performance, among many other things – and preschoolers engage deeply. At no other age are stories as powerful and beloved by an entire segment of the population. Tapping into young children’s imagination and providing them with tools expand their dramatic performance in new directions.

    In this presentation, author Ana Lomba will illustrate how she planned her Magic Worlds® curriculum for language immersion. Participants will plan together a simple frame for their own story-based lesson plans. 

    In play a child is always above his average age, above his daily behavior; in play it is as though he were a head taller than himself,” Lev Vygotsky.

    Focus: Ages 1 to 6

    Presenter: Ana Lomba

    NoneAna Lomba is a Parents’ Choice award-winning author of language-learning materials for young children and a tireless advocate for early childhood bilingual education. She has taught parent-tot, preschool, elementary, middle school, and university Spanish courses. She has also held leadership positions at the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), the National Network for Early Language Learning (NNELL), and Foreign Language Educators of New Jersey (FLENJ). After graduating with a law degree from Spain, her native country, Ana pursued graduate studies in Spanish and Latin American Literature at Binghamton University and Princeton University. She founded her company, Ana Lomba Early Languages LLC, in 1999. Ana publishes bilingual materials in Spanish, French, Mandarin Chinese, and English, including the story-based curriculum Magic Words® for children ages 1 to 10. Visit www.analomba.com to learn more about her work.

  • 3. Songs and Singing as a Gateway for Language Development in Early Childhood

    Songs and singing are essential tools for language development. Songs can support a piece of curriculum, or celebrate a group's accomplishments, or transition to a different focus and mood. When spontaneous singing starts in a room, it is a signal that the children are happy and engaged in their learning. To extend the use of singing even further, volunteering words to a song motivates many learners; done as a group it becomes compelling.

    Group work that sets out to rewrite words of a beloved song triggers word retrieval and associations that stimulate the brain. As an example, songs called "Zipper songs" offer these cohesive moments; any word that is suggested works. Melody and rhythm propel this excitement. The beauty of classroom singing is that, in the safety of the group, shyer children find confidence to join in with their voice and "try out" words that come to mind: success, and pride in success, is palpable.

    • Participants will explore zipper songs;
    • Participants will share out their "Old friends." i.e. a recalled melody from childhood that becomes super reliable for inviting word changes and drawing in words;
    • Participants will experience the difference between chanting and singing, and feel confident about both;
    • Participants will be able to offer guidance and strategies to their peers who are shy about singing.

    Focus: Ages 0 to 6

    Presenter: Betsy Blachly

    Betsy Blachly is a music specialist in the School for Children and Family Center at Bank Street College since 1976. She teaches courses in the Graduate School: Music and Movement - Multicultural and Developmental Approaches in Diverse and Inclusive Classes (K-6) and Singing in the Early Childhood Classroom. Betsy is committed to a child-centered learning philosophy that is underscored by the roots of music experience in the family. She has done research about songs and singining as an intrinsic part of classroom's literacy curriculum. She has recently authored an iBook, Singing and the Standards, with Bank Street colleagues Betsy Grob and Jeff Hall. Betsy also works as a certified music therapist in a family shelter in the Bronx.

  • 4. Challenging the Dominance of Standard American English: Using Code-Meshing Pedagogy to Take Advantage of Students’ Full Linguistic Repertoires
    It is the rare person who speaks a single language variety! As our students come to us with a range of language resources, we must adopt frames of mind and pedagogical approaches designed to utilize their full linguistic repertoires.

    In this workshop, we will expand our notions of what constitutes a language, examine our language biases, consider how to delve deeply into our students’ language knowledge, and use code-meshing to increase points of entry for our students. Canagarajah & Young (2014) define the code-meshing approach to teaching English as one that “extends (the) teaching of literacy skills by allowing students to write in their native language variety…by urging students to exploit and blend (grammatical) differences.”

    Participants in this workshop will analyze samples of code-meshing, practice generating code-meshing samples from their own language systems, and consider how to apply code-meshing to an aspect of their English Language Arts curriculum or another content area.

    Focus: Ages 5 and beyond

    Presenter: Pamela Jones

  • 5. Incorporating Translanguaging in Your Classroom

    This workshop will focus on incorporating translanguaging strategies and spaces into the curriculum. Translanguaging allows educators to better assess and build on students’ diverse backgrounds, inspire linguistic confidence, and develop metalinguistic awareness. Participants will look at examples of translanguaging in various classroom environments and analyze student work to reflect on how to best support learning in multilingual environments. You will be given time to concentrate on one project or unit of study in your classroom and identify areas where you can welcome a wider range of linguistic resources. 

    Some of the questions we will explore are:

    • What does it mean to invite the whole child into the classroom?
    • How can we build a community that welcomes everyone’s cultural and linguistic resources into the classroom?

    Focus: Ages 5 and beyond

    Presenters: Gladys Aponte & Tim Becker

    NoneGladys Aponte, M.S.Ed., is a public school fourth grade Dual Language teacher in Jackson Heights, Queens. She received her M.S.Ed. in Childhood Special Education and Dual language/Bilingual Education from Bank Street College and her BA in Elementary Education and English Language Arts from Hunter College.  As an Adjunct Instructor, Gladys teaches courses in Linguistics and Bilingual Education at Bank Street College.  Her passion for creating language-rich, culturally relevant learning environments inspires a love of language and lifelong learning in each of her students.

    NoneTim Becker, M.S.Ed., is a fourth grade teacher at the Amistad Dual Language School.   Tim furthers the collaborative work of Dual Language teachers as a member of Amistad’s professional development committee. He is also a member of the Math for America Early Career Fellowship. Tim earned his BA in Linguistics and Hispanic Studies from Macalester College and his Master’s in Childhood Bilingual/Dual Language Education from Bank Street College of Education.  At Bank Street, Tim created a curriculum using authentic Spanish language children's literature to support the academic language development of his emergent bilingual students. Previously, Tim lived in Spain, where he taught English at a bilingual school in Madrid.

    Gladys and Tim are collaborating with Ofelia Garcia, PhD, and Cristian Solorza, M.S. Ed., to develop a CUNY-NYSIEB Translanguaging Guide for Dual Language Bilingual educators.

  • 6. Language Matters! Supporting Mathematical Discourse in the Classroom

    This workshop will explore the role of discourse in the mathematics classroom. How do we support the development of ideas and language in mathematics?  All students, including ELLs and those with language-based disabilities, need supported opportunities to communicate their mathematical thinking and develop mathematical language. The workshop will focus on the “why” of mathematics while exploring strategies to support and develop productive discourse for all learners in a classroom.

    Focus: Ages 5 and beyond

    Presenter: Amy Withers

    NoneAmy Withers is a math coach with Metamorphosis Teaching Learning Communities and Advisor in the Math Leadership Program at Bank Street.  She was a dual-language teacher and math coach (English/Spanish) for eleven years at Amistad Dual Language School, a public K-8 school in Northern Manhattan. She has taught several courses at Bank Street, including Math for Teachers in Diverse and Inclusive Settings and Diagnosis of Learning Difficulties and Intervention Techniques for the Mathematics Educator. She graduated from the Math Leadership Program at Bank Street with a Master of Science in Education, and also holds a Master of Science in Teaching from Fordham University and a Master of Public Administration from NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service.

  • 7. Oh, The Places We’ll Go! Integrating Movement and Dance into the Curriculum for Meaning Making

    Most of the big milestones achieved in life have involved some combined use of the connection between the body and the mind (eating, crawling, walking, running, etc.). However, too often students are asked to shut down their bodies and focus only on their brains. For the little ones, this can make for an unnatural learning environment; for our older students, this can disengage the mind and take the joy out of learning. 

    This workshop will explore different entry points for incorporating movement into the content areas. The purpose is to reunite the mind and the body in the pursuit, acquisition, retention, and creative reuse of knowledge. Through movement activities, we will discover how much more meaningful education can be if there is an authentic purpose at its core, strong connections that can be formed, and valuable insights to be gained. Some content areas we will explore are social studies, math, language arts, and science.

    Since this workshop will involve elements of creative movement, participants are encouraged to come dressed in comfortable clothing so they can move freely. All abilities are welcomed!

    Ideas to Ponder on Our Journey:

    • How can we go beyond stillness when learning?  
    • How can we bridge the gap between the mind and body in a conventional classroom setting?
    • What types of movement activities support learning in the classroom?

    Focus: Ages 5 and beyond

    Presenter: Clara Bello

    NoneClara Bello is the full-time Dance Teacher and Arts Liaison at the K-8 Amistad Dual Language School in Manhattan. She has taught elementary and middle school students for 10 years as an intervention, classroom, and dance teacher. Her dance program blends her passion for the humanities with the principles of creative movement. She developed and teaches her curricula primarily in Spanish, one of the few dance educators in the city to teach an arts-based course in a language other than English.

    Clara is an active member of the National Dance Education Organization, a Facilitator for the NYC DOE Arts Mondays professional development series. In 2015 she was part of a NYC DOE Dance Curriculum Writing Team and a contributing writer for the 2015 revision of the New York City Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in the Arts - Dance. Every year Clara volunteers in missions to various parts of Latin America. In late 2014, she participated in the Dove ‘Love Your Curls’ Campaign to raise awareness about the impact of the social messages we send our children.

    Clara received her M.S.Ed. in Bilingual Childhood Education from City College, CUNY. At the undergraduate level, she completed her dance education training at the Dance Education Laboratory. Her BA is in French and Latin American and Caribbean Studies from CUNY Hunter College.